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Questions over Paul Hyde's nomination for role with An Bord Pleanála

Former board members of the body that nominated Paul Hyde for a role with An Bord Pleanála have said they had no knowledge of there ever having been a formal nomination process.

Mr Hyde, the deputy chair of An Bord Pleanála, is under investigation over a number of cases in which he is alleged to have had a conflict of interest. He has denied any conflict.

Nomination process

Three former board members of the Irish Rural Dwellers Association (IRDA) — Independent TD Marian Harkin, former TD Jerry Crowley, and former senator Labhrás Ó Murchú — told the Irish Examiner they had absolutely no knowledge of any nomination process for Mr Hyde to be put forward for the role with the planning board. Sources close to Jim Connolly, the man whose brainchild IRDA was, also say he did not know Mr Hyde and has no recollection of any process.

Furthermore, as reported in The Ditch earlier this month, when the IRDA nominated Mr Hyde in 2013 it had actually been dissolved as a company the previous year.

Mr Hyde was appointed to An Bord Pleanála by then environment minister Phil Hogan in 2014 and appointed deputy chair in 2019.

The minister makes appointments to the board from a list of names nominated by a range of civil, economic, and social bodies that are listed in legislation

Paul Hyde is the subject of an investigation by senior counsel Remy Farrell, who is examining a number of cases over which he presided. An Bord Pleanála is also conducting an internal review of files with which Mr Hyde was involved.

Senior counsel Remy Farrell is examining a number of cases relating to Paul Hyde.
Senior counsel Remy Farrell is examining a number of cases relating to Paul Hyde.

Meanwhile the Office of the Planning Regulator (OPR) announced on Friday that it was to bring forward and expand on a planned review of the operation of An Bord Pleanála.

It said subsequent to the appointment of Mr Farrell, "a range of wider concerns have been raised including patterns of decision-making and amendments to inspectors’ reports submitted to the board in its decision making process…The OPR is therefore making preparatory arrangements to bring forward a new and focused element of its review work in relation to the board to address the matters raised".